Growing up in a community where basic amenities are unavailable is hard. The youths and the old alike defecate in the very same rivers in which others bathe and wash clothes because they live in houses that do not have toilet facilities. A situation of overcrowded homes and houses constructed without toilet facilities and kitchens can be seen. This is the plight of the poorest class of persons living in Bolifamba.
Bolifamba is a small community in the outskirts of Buea, in the Southwest region of Cameroon. It is a multi-cultural area with people coming from different parts of the country.
This poor community is one of the major slums found in the Buea municipality, with dilapidated houses and little access to basic amenities.
Health reports reveal the prevalence of water-borne diseases among persons living in this community, such as typhoid and dysentery as well as sexually transmitted diseases.
Despite efforts put in place to sensitize the community on proper hygiene, a talk with some young persons revealed that some of the inhabitants feel helpless about the situation. They live in houses constructed without toilets and do not have the funds to afford better homes.
Young girls growing up under such conditions do not have the luxury of privacy and end up being victims of rape and promiscuous behaviors. About one in every eight young girls in this community is a mother as a result of an unplanned pregnancy.
In fact, in Buea, Bolifamba is one community well known for a high level of promiscuity among the youths and the prevalence of teenage pregnancies. Most of the youths here have either primary or no formal education, and a low knowledge of sexual hygiene and birth control.
It is unimaginable just how the lack of appropriate toilet facilities and poverty have affected this community.
A discussion with a teenage mother revealed that having an unplanned pregnancy resulted in drop out from school. The father of her child, who is below 18 years old, together with her, need to engage in petty trading to cater to the needs of their child. Desperation resulting from poverty further pushes single mothers into prostitution.
Such communities can be assisted by engaging in community projects that meet their need for basic amenities, like the creation of toilet facilities, to improve their standard of living and vocational training for income creation.